From the moment you drive a brand new car off the lot, it’s placed in stressful situations every day.
That curb you nudged going around a corner? That may have damaged your tire.
That pothole you hit this morning on the way to the store? That may have compromised your suspension system.
Your car was perfectly designed, put together with care. But the world around you is anything but a perfect place. You can dodge a car that turns into your lane, jump when a rock hits your windshield and causes a crack, flinch when damage in the road jars your car, and all that is getting out of your neighborhood.
Imagine what happens to your car over the course of a year!
What does the suspension system do?
Before we get into all of the things that cause common suspension problems, let’s first take a look at what it does for your vehicle.
Imagine heading out on the open road, and pushing the pedal to the floor to reach 60, 70 miles per hour and more. What gives you control is your suspension system. What makes it a comfortable ride at every speed is your suspension system. Without it, you’d quickly spin out of control.
The primary function of the suspension system is control. It maximizes the connection between the tires and the road. It provides steering stability. It creates even weight distribution between all four wheels. It ensures comfort by absorbing every bump in the road. It limits the stress placed on other parts of the car, ensuring your vehicle sustains a long lifespan.
The suspension system consists of:
- Air pressure in the tires
All suspension parts are located somewhere between the frame of the vehicle and the road. It is designed as a protection system, creating a buffer between your car, the road, and you safely inside.
How do you know if your car has suspension problems?
Even though you can select a car from many different manufacturers, in many different sizes and shapes, they are all built with the same structure and way that they operate. Yes, you have the choice of purchasing many different types and styles of tires, for example, but they are all designed to provide the same basic function.
That makes it easy to recognize when things aren’t working right, no matter what vehicle you drive. There are common suspension problems that materialize when a part weakens or no longer works.
Pulling to one side
At the top of the list, one of the most common signs of a suspension problem is when the car pulls to the left or right while you drive. It’s also a difficult problem to diagnose without the help of a trained mechanic. That’s because it can be a whole host of different issues. It could be an alignment issue. Uneven tire wear. Or a problem with the steering wheel. It can be a problem with the tire rack. Or possibly a sticking problem with a brake caliper.
Every pothole you hit, every bump in the road can jar something loose. If your alignment is out of whack, there’s a reason for it. Some part has either come loose, or is broken altogether. And the only way to get your car back in good working condition is to get to the root of the problem.
A bumpy ride
What happened to your nice, smooth ride? Suddenly, your car feels like an old beat up truck.
A rough ride is a clear indicator that your shocks and struts are worn out or in need of repair. Shock absorbers are designed to absorb every bump in the road. They have hydraulic fluid inside that helps dampen the bouncing motion as it connects with the road. If they lead, your performance suffers.
One corner sits lower than the rest
As you walk up to your car, take a quick look at how it sits. It should always be level. If it isn’t, there’s a problem. When one corner sits lower than the others, it’s likely a damaged spring. You may also start noticing a clunking noise as you hit a bump or turn a corner. That’s because the spring can no longer support the weight of the vehicle.
The shock and the spring are interconnected. If the shock is blown, it overcompensates by compressing the spring, lowering that side of the vehicle. Even the slightest height variance can be a sign of a problem.
Nose dives and rolls
If your car nose dives or leans forward as you brake and come to a stop …
If your vehicle rolls or leans side to side as you turn into corners …
If your vehicle squats or leans back as you accelerate from a stop …
You have a suspension problem.
Have you ever had a hard time steering your car? Normally, it moves easily, one hand can take control. Then it grows in difficulty, it might even feel like it slips as you turn. This can be caused by a number of problems, including low power steering fluid, a faulty steering pump, a leaking power steering rack, or worn out arm bushings.
The best way to find the root of the problem is to schedule a maintenance visit with one of our mechanics.
Can you fix suspension on a car?
If you notice any of the common suspension problems listed above, to remain safe, don’t drive your vehicle any more than you have to. Bring your car in quickly to avoid further damage.
The biggest reason is one part can impact others. And what may have been a few hundred dollar repair can escalate into the thousands. It can also escalate from a minor repair into an emergency situation.
Imagine a problem with low tire pressure suddenly moving to critical level with a tire blowout.
That’s just one example of things that can go wrong.
If you suspect you have a suspension problem, don’t delay. Have one of our trained mechanics take a look and diagnose the problem today.